Colorado Lives: The Story of Reefer Madness

Ian-Fortey by Ian-Fortey on Apr. 16, 2014

Three months ago, recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado.  Those against the move promised higher crime rates and general chaos.  Kids would become addicted, people would die, everyone would regret it.  One California Sherriff assured Denver residents that, once it was legal, nothing would stop thugs from putting on masks, kicking in your door and stealing your weed at gunpoint. 

None of that happened.

Crime in Colorado has decreased in the past three months.  Property crime is down almost 15% over last year.  Violent crimes are down about 3%.  A PLOS One study conducted on data from 1990 to 2006 indicated that, in every location in the US where medical marijuana had been legalized, there was no significant rise in any kind of violent crimes that anti-drug crusaders have long promised would be the result of legalized pot.

The war on drugs is misguided, particularly when it comes to marijuana, for a very simple reason – marijuana does not make you a violent criminal.  That is not and has never been a side effect of smoking pot.  The entire culture of marijuana as we know it in 2014 is one of snack food, X Box and laughing at barely funny jokes.  Law makers can ignore this for as long as they choose to keep those pickles wedged in their asses, but every rational person knows the truth and evidence supports it: weed doesn’t make criminals.  Illegal weed does.  The rise and fall of crimes rates corresponding to the implementation and subsequent repeal of Prohibition mirror this perfectly.  When you make something that adults can use responsibly illegal, you invite crime.  When you treat adults like adults and let them be responsible, they will act responsibly.

According to the PLOS study, if anything there may be a link between declines in homicide rates and legal access to marijuana and again the stereotype bears this out.  Cheech and Chong were not gunslingers, they were slackers.  Potheads are synonymous with slackassery.  Where did anyone ever get the idea that weed would cause you to freak out?

Those of us who have enjoyed the movie Reefer Madness are aware that uptight, button down America has been convinced that marijuana is basically psychosis in a bong since the 1930s.  In that film, pot smoking women are whores and men become unstable, violent killers.  If this has never been a truism, how did it come about?  Again we return to Prohibition.

Prohibition was a massive failure and eventually lawmakers realized it had to come to an end.  However, there was still a lot of money to be made in America at that time and lots of people were making lots of money from the illegal booze trade.  Once it was scrapped, it wasn’t long before marijuana stepped up as the next social pariah.  The effort to demonize weed was lead in part by Prohibition Commissioner Harry Ansligner and media magnate William Randolph Hearst, a man not above making up lies and printing them as fact in his papers.  He demonized marijuana in the public eye, linking it extensively to violent crime.  His motives for this can only be guessed at, though it’s speculated it was in part to crush the hemp industry, which was huge at the time, and partially due to Hearst’s own racist leanings as marijuana was frequently associated with minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics.  In fact, there’s an abundance of evidence to suggest marijuana laws were historically enacted any place where white majorities wanted to control minorities. The ban on marijuana in Canada was spurned into motion by a racist feminist writer who, despite having no experience with the drug, was convinced Canada was being overrun by Chinese junkies.

This woman was a bitch? The hell you say.

In America, Hearst created the ideal of Reefer Madness.  Pushers were going to invade your neighborhood, seduce your children into leaving school, getting high, having sex and committing crimes.  They would listen to jazz music at speakeasies and never be good, upstanding citizens again because the grip of marijuana was like iron. 

Today you can watch Reefer Madness the movie and laugh at its stupidity, it’s usually sold as a kitschy comedy in fact, but it’s also exactly the way the current and all past administrations have understood marijuana. The legal understanding of weed is based entirely on 80 year old outrageous lies and, on the one hand, surely everyone knows this, but law makers are still so extremely reluctant to accept it. 

Colorado is still standing 3 months later.  More and more states are agreeing that they, the people, want marijuana to be legalized.  There’s untold income potential from taxation, there’s resources freed up in the legal system to pursue more prescient issues and there is the fact that it’s pot.  For God’s sake, it’s pot.  It’s less damaging than either alcohol or cigarettes and numerous studies, hundreds upon hundreds, have confirmed this again and again.

In 2014 we have Presidents who have smoked pot.  One in three Americans admit to smoking weed, that’s over 100 million, and those are just the ones who admit it.  That means one in three of those law makers are probably secretly smoking up, those judges sentencing people to stiff jail terms and the cops arresting them.  It’s out there, it’s the biggest lie everyone indulges in still, somehow.  But, slowly, it’s changing.  Thing is, if 100 million Americans are smoking up, and it’s only illegal because of lies made up in the 1930’s, are you happy knowing America can keep a law on the books for over 80 years, a law one in three people don’t respect, a law based on total BS?  What does that tell you about the way the world in which we live works?

29 comments
bjuytfd
bjuytfd

It went on just as I said it would, no problems

Chris-Swartz-115
Chris-Swartz-115

Great read mostly a rehash of information i already knew but ill be posting this link for others to read thanx

eldystar
eldystar User

pot killed my whole family and burned down my house.

iduno2much
iduno2much User

I am not as think as I stoned I am

Kersen11
Kersen11

you know what....wait, i forgot what i was going to type

AZZHOLIO
AZZHOLIO User

@smccrac3

No doubt alcohol is a big problem. I would say more so then weed when it comes to violence,auto accidents and health.

I drink and smoke on occasion myself. But I'm 49 and retired so it's not going to change my future.

   But a thirteen year old daily smoker of weed is curtailing his chance at success in a huge way.

AZZHOLIO
AZZHOLIO User

@Blank Titanic

  Hmmm...thought we were talking about weed. You'll just have to wait for Break to post up a vid about drinking.

And like I said dimwit. I smoke a little myself,but that doesnt stop me from realizing that smoking to much is a bad thing.


    I'm not so sure the gov isnt legalizing weed so they'll have a lazy compliant populace thats easy to control.

But hey,that pretty much describes liberals already....smoke em if ya got em...in excess dimwit.

BlankTitanic
BlankTitanic User

The number one financial backer of the anti illegal drug world is the legal drug world. Booze, scripts and tobacco. They do not want competition. Pure and simple.

smccrac3
smccrac3

If people want to smoke pot, who are we to say no. Alcohol has had and continues to have a hugely negative impact on society, but nobody wants prohibition again. Pot prohibition only serves to benefit the police, private prisons, and drug dealers.... screw that, relax and tax it.

AZZHOLIO
AZZHOLIO User

@synweb77

  Nailed it!!

AZZHOLIO
AZZHOLIO User

@jackburton420

Hey dumbazz. You shouldnt assume. I smoke pot myself,but I know when it's acceptable and when it's not.

To many dont have that self control.

   I've seen pot ruin peoples motivation and anyone who says different is a ignoranus.

eat_a_dick_bitch
eat_a_dick_bitch User

Did you seriously just use a movie as point in your argument? I read that and decided the rest of this trash article would be like all the others on this website. I don't know why I keep reading them.

andyman4
andyman4 User

I wish everyone making a comment would sign in with " this is just a generalization but....."

AZZHOLIO
AZZHOLIO User

 I would be fine with legalizing pot if people didnt abuse it to the point of becoming a slug.

Problem is there is always going to be a portion of society with no self control who will become dependent on the gov because they cant get off the couch.

uBlow
uBlow UserTop Commenter

You're an idiot.  There are other facets to this.  Look at the number of burnouts here in Canada.  They're useless people.  They become "artists" looking for free money.  Productivity goes way down, and the number of morons goes way up.  It's rampant in Toronto as you'll find lots of people stoned behind the wheel, "working".  Crime isn't the issue with this stuff.  

Nord20
Nord20 User

@AZZHOLIO @smccrac3  As would a 13 year old drinking scotch every day.  Legalisation doesn't mean everybody from babies upwards just goes to town - you implement similar rules as you do for any other legal intoxicant - license, age-restrict and control supply.

John-Thomas-436
John-Thomas-436

@AZZHOLIO - Can the demonizing. 


SAMHSA research determined more than 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana. That's near HALF the of-age population. There are an estimated 30 to 50 million current consumers. The vast majority consume moderately - on the weekends or less, and are successful, hard-working, respected members of their communities. They are from all walks of life and loved by the families they support.

Since we now know marijuana is less "addictive" than coffee, and far less harmful than alcohol, this should be no surprise to anyone.


Marijuana is as American as apple pie - and healthier.

Nord20
Nord20 User

@AZZHOLIO @jackburton420  But surely the same is true of both alcohol and smoking....and driving cars....and having fast food available.  Because some people can't handle it, shouldn't mean everybody else gets denies it.

Fortey
Fortey moderator User

@dickless_wonder A propaganda film made at the height of anti-marijuana sentiment?  Yes, I made reference to that. 

jackburton420
jackburton420 User

@AZZHOLIO I'd rather have hundred potheads on couches playing Xbox rolling pennies to pay for Ramen than another retarded self righteous, ignorant, religious extremist Tea Bagger espousing lies, spitting on the poor, and attempting to enforce their religious moralities on others with draconian laws.

Nord20
Nord20 User

@uBlow  Are there no alcoholics in Canada then?

smccrac3
smccrac3

@uBlow  No, You're an idiot. Pot isn't even legal in Canada. People can't be very productive in jail, so your productivity argument doesn't make much sense. Peoples liberty is what is at stake. We know what alcohol does to people, families, and communities, but I bet you'd be pissed if you didn't have the right to drink a beer.

jackburton420
jackburton420 User

@uBlow Canada's problems have little to do with pot and more to do with poor management. Also, you're in the US, so stop lying in some vain attempt to prove your non-existent point.

Matt-Kim-806
Matt-Kim-806 User

@uBlow  T.V. and computers with bright interfaces draw out people's attention more than weed ever could (why do you think the indian government went out of the way to get T.V. in the slums (they don't give there people anything but they were thrilled for a less volatile population)) 


http://conservationmagazine.org/2013/09/tv-as-birth-control/


weed isn't the worst culprit for anything - it was just a fun ride for enforcement/slander profit 


JA


@16611814

synweb77
synweb77 User

@jackburton420 @AZZHOLIOIt's funny how liberals say that by telling people to work for what they get and earn it is spitting on them.  Yet, morons like yourself forget that a liberal once said "Don't ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"  I guess Kennedy was spitting on the poor with this statement also.  What about Jeremiah Wright?  Obama's pastor is a hate mongering, lie spewing bigot, but lets divert our liberal eyes to this who believes that anyone of less color than him is evil.  Obamacare is Obama spewing his religious moralities on others, and can be considered a "draconian law" 

Ohh wait!  In your eyes these things can only apply to a "tea bagger" 

As far as the end to marijuana prohibition....  Legalization for taxation to help lift us from this $4.8+ trillion debt that Obama has given us in his first four years of office.  While it took bush 8 years to acquire 5.8 trillion in debt after the attacks on 9/11 and two wars.

uBlow
uBlow UserTop Commenter

@Matt-Kim-806 You're obviously high.  Did you make this theory up yourself, or did the unicorns have some input?  And conspiracy theories.  All together in one post.  What's next?  Weed cures cancer and AIDS?  Go back to your commune, kid.  

analdistroyer
analdistroyer User

@BlankTitanic I could never image a president being more terrible then Bush.... then here comes Obama to do a more terrible job then bush did.